Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What it means to be held....

I am not sure of the status of my precious Tommy...

I have asked and asked this morning with no reply, so God must have a reason to keep me in the unknown...

As I was going through my day, the ache in my chest grew unbearable....What if he wasn't saved by a family?  What if his time of redemption here on earth faded away with only a few hearts to cry for him?  What if I had prayed harder?   Yelled louder?  What will happen to his precious little boy now?  If I thought too much farther, the horrors were enough to undo me...

The song that came to mind is one that has always haunted me...Held by Natalie Grant.  I don't know for sure what the writers of the song meant, so I want to be very careful that I am not endorsing an unBiblical viewpoint...The words of the song were written for a mama that lost her little boy at two months old.  The song says, "To think that Providence took a child from his mother while she prayed is appalling." 

I grappled with this very thought while I begged God for the life of my precious daughter, Mimi.  Was God still good, if He took her from my arms? Could I praise Him as I buried my child?  Could I even lay her in that grave?  How could I let go that last time?  I wasn't supposed to be planning a funeral for my baby.  Where was God in all of the hospital beeps and noises and pitying faces of the doctors?

"Who told us we'd be rescued?
What has changed and
Why should we be saved from nightmares?"

I realized in that hospital room, that there was no promise that my baby would be healed.  I went to a fairly conservative church - no outright "health and prosperity" teaching going on....but it was always implied in the Christian community.  "God would not ask you to go through that."  "God always works for the good of His children..."  But I realized none of that was true - or if it was, it was used out of context.  God would work for my good....even if it meant taking my Mercy home to Himself....

Where is the comfort in that? 

"This hand is bitterness
We want to taste it and
Let the hatred numb our sorrows."

Oh, how I wanted to let that bitterness numb the pain growing in my heart every time I saw my little one fighting to survive...every time another I.V. attempt failed...when the two minutes we delayed to stop and pray, turned into the two minutes that were life and death for her.  I wanted to be numb as I sat in the waiting room with the pitying looks of the social worker as they tried one last time....

"This is what it means to be held.
How it feels,
When the sacred is torn from your life,
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell,
We'd be held"

Although God, in His perfect plan, spared my Mimi's life, the "sacred" was torn from my life - precisely because I made a lie "sacred."  I had put my sacred trust in something that God never said.  He never said He would always heal...or save.  He said to look on His goodness, His compassion, His mercy, His justice, His redemption, and trust whatever He chose to do would be perfect.....even if I could not understand on this side of heaven.  And that His strength, His grace, His love would carry me through it.

How often do we, as believers, put our trust in something that God didn't promise - and then hurl our bitterness at Him for not doing what we expected?  I have learned that God's Word is always true.  If I end up in a situation that I think He has not done what He has promised, it is because I have misunderstood the promise - not that He has broken it.

Another sacred lie I held onto was that God would give me strength for all situations....Some of you are saying, "God does promise that!".  I agree with you - but my definition of "strength" was wrong.  As I sat in the PICU again, I raged at God because I could not find the strength to go one more moment in that hospital.  I would sit in my car in the parking garage after being home visiting my other children (while my mom stayed with Mimi) and I would lay my head on my steering wheel and sob.  I could not find the strength to face walking through those hospital hallways again.  Where was this strength He promised me? 

I finally latched onto the verse "And when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Cor 12:10.  What did that mean?  I chewed on, wrestled with, cried over this verse for weeks and weeks... I didn't want to be weak, I wanted the strength He had promised me!  I finally realized it was only when I was weak that I was truly strong.  Because it was not my strength.  The moment I started feeling strong, I released my grip on my Savior.  There was no miracle infusion of strength that I had expected - and had searched for for many years - it was God putting my one foot in front of the other to walk through those hospital doors again.  It was God who gave me the breath for one more moment, when I couldn't even feel my heart beating through the pain.  He has promised strength - but I was not understanding the promise.  I was looking for this great infusion of powerful strength so I could go on....instead He gave me a Savior to cling to.  One who would carry me though those moments and days.

I have found this real strength from Him on the mornings after long nights with no sleep, sick babies, financial troubles, abandonment by friends, and heart-weariness too deep for words.  It is the strength to cling to Him and to do the next thing.  It is not super-human strength - it is super-human weakness carried by an amazing God.

I need to draw on that strength again as I face Tommy's uncertain future... Is God still good if He chooses not to place Tommy in a family here on earth?  Is God still good even though there are millions of Tommys?  Is God still good even when I cannot understand?

"If hope is born of suffering,
If this is only the beginning,
Can we not wait, for one hour
Watching for our Savior?"

God has not promised to save every orphan on my heart....I have known as I prayed for them all that eventually there would be one that I would not see saved.  Even as I write that I want to bellow in rage and sorrow.  "No!  Please save this one!  Not this one!"  I feel a piece of that hopelessness and suffering I felt in Mercy Anne's hospital room.  I feel the temptation to let the bitterness drown out my pain.

However, I must cling to my Savior.  I must trust He will give me the strength to cling for yet one more moment...and then one more...and one more.   I must cling to His mercy, compassion, goodness, perfection...even I cannot conceive of how this could be good and perfect, on this side of heaven.  I must cling to that strength even as I know that Tommy will be the one to suffer the consequences.  Is it wrong to beg Him to just take Tommy home? 

I will watch for my Savior....He may still choose to answer and save little Tommy...how I pray for that!  I will continue to lift Tommy to the Savior until I can behold him in Heaven, standing right next to our Savior, full and whole.  God has only promised one place with no more suffering and no more tears.  Only one place with no more pain and fear.  God had made a perfect place for His creation and in our sin and selfishness, we destroyed His perfect world.  In our sin and selfishness we have created a world of our own making - one in which precious lives are left in cribs for lifetimes as we go on in ignorance or indifference. 

The sacred is being torn from my life again...yet, I will trust Him.

I will trust little Tommy to Him, though my heart breaks.

To Him be the glory.


  1. I tried to click on the pics of the children on the right side of your blog to get more info on them, but the links don't appear to work. Unfortunately we are not in a position to adopt right now, but I wanted to learn more about these adorable babies to add them to my prayers. I hope some day God will allow us to redeem a child like one of these.

  2. Thank you, Lisa. I am not sure what happened with the links, but they are fixed now. Please know that your prayers make a difference RIGHT NOW, even if you are not in a position to adopt. Sometimes it is harder to be passionate about praying, when you cannot be the one to save them, but please pray!